Thursday, May 10, 2012


I really dislike money management so it's odd that I've become an accidental expert at being a tight old miser. That's what happens when you move to another land, take two and a half years to get a proper job and then promptly go on maternity leave whilst desperately trying to scrape together a house deposit.

In these financially enlightened days I often weep when I think of all the money I've wasted over the years. That time I gave £250 house deposit to a flaky vegetarian girl in Brighton who predictably disappeared immediately afterwards (I like to think I am 'trusting' rather than incurably naive)...

..that time I 'one click' bought an legal copy of Microsoft Word from Amazon to write my dissertation and sent it to my old house by mistake....goodbye £100, despite bodily forcing the poor estate agent to go back to the house and check through the post. 

At university I had absolutely no concept of money, although my one redeeming action was to get a part time job during my third year and pay my rent for a term at least without sponging that off my parents. I didn't actually do any degree work but that's another story.

Here is a list of ways I've made money over the last couple of years outside my not very impressive wages. I feel like I deserve an award because I've got through maternity leave without spending any savings. I can't relax however because soon I will have £55 in my savings account and nothing else, after we give our every last penny to the solicitors (we got the mortgage by the way!) and awake to find ourselves sitting on the floor in our first house because we can't afford a sofa:

1) Register Self Employed
I am lucky enough that I've quite arbitrarily come across people who will pay me for writing for them. I've written copy for travel and flights websites, psychology blogs, airport car parking sites, blogs for jazz bands and most recently I've taken on work writing for a front door company. It's been quite challenging getting work done in between looking after the 10 month old 'early walker' I've been blessed with... but I am in no position to complain. The bad thing about being self employed is that you have to do a tax return. I usually just shut my eyes and hope for the best. I would eventually like to be completely self employed, that would be nice.

2) Survey Sites
I've seriously made around £200 from Onepoll and no one believes me. Not a hugely life-changing amount but as I'm constantly on my computer I might as well get paid for answering questions about tanning, who is sponsoring the Olympics and pudding. I also got £10 from Valued Opinions but I can't stand their website and they obviously hate me too as I have now been banned from all their surveys for an unfathomable reason.

3) Music Magpie
I love Music Magpie. I've made £90 on tonnes of old CDs. There are only two bad things about it. One is that I've now run out of CDs to sell and the other one is that their marketing emails are truly the worse I've ever had the pleasure of deleting from my inbox.

4) eBay
I know I'm late to the eBay party but I've only just got into it after being irrational scared of it for years. My 2012 news years resolution was to learn how to use it and it's going well so far. I've made a few hundred pounds selling loads of old rubbish floating around my flat. I do have nightmares about negative feedback though.

5) Money Saving Expert
When I first decided to be good with money I went on Money Saving Expert and ended up on a forum where someone was advising readers to kneel down and look at the level of milk in all the cartons in the supermarket, as 'you can often get an extra cup of tea out of some of them' and I immediately backed away from my computer in horror. However, these days I do like to browse the advice, lurk in the 'Debt Free Wannabe' forum and congratulate myself on how I never got a credit card and have no debt apart from my Student Loan which clearly doesn't count.

6) Don't buy anything
This may not come as a surprise but I really don't buy much. I don't buy new clothes, I don't go out, I don't spend anything on myself apart from bare essentials. I make up for this barren, boring existence by buying special baby stuff and not skimping on nice food. Food is something I won't feel bad for spending money on, however you will still see me beating aside old ladies to get to anything that's reduced and bulk buying toilet rolls, shampoo and washing powder in ASDA.

7) Sell your guitar
I sold my bass guitar to a evangelical Christian for the grand sum of £175.

It's so banal I know to keep going on about money. Maybe one day I will stop being shocked at myself for being able to survive in the adult world and stop talking about it. That is the last I will mention of it, I promise.

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